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Headfirst into summer

May 23, 2010

There’s something to be said for leaving a heavy wet snow in late spring, heading to the land of endless spring, and then coming back to summer at home. This spring has been something of a tease, warm and lovely early on so that everything bloomed early. Then we had eighteen inches of snow, on top of blooming tulips, daffodils, green leaves. The green of the leaves through the snow made it all look a little eerie, like the sky before a tornado. Then as soon as lilacs bloomed, three more inches of snow. Thankfully, I was in Portland, Oregon by then.

And hello, Portland. What a lovely city you are. I think I’m a little bit smitten. Your sweet neighborhoods, with deep, shady porches, blooms that are twice the size of ours, and tons of people riding bicycles. The acres of pubic parks, the Japanese garden… and people, the farmers’ market. I cannot even tell you how much I love the Portland farmers market. While our market is still dealing in radishes and greens, Portland has bounty that is unheard of in our land of brittle winters and fickle springs.

The mushrooms were enough to make a girl weep. We bought morels, shiitake, porcinis. We bought asparagus, prunes, hazelnuts, hard cider, and oysters. Yes, this market, only an hour and a half from the Pacific, had oysters. I was smitten. But perhaps I mentioned that?

We drank wine, we ate gluten-free goodies at New Cascadia Traditional (gluten free people, please visit this place), and we wandered through the Columbia River gorge. Honestly, I’m in love with this place.

After that farmers’ market trip, we took our bounty back to the friends’ house where we were staying and made them a Portland feast. The oysters, we had on the half shell with a squeeze of lemon. We followed this by quinoa and a saute of our three kinds of mushrooms, asparagus, and leeks.  And this, of course, was accompanied by good friends, good conversation, and a lovely wine from Argyle vineyard. Sigh. I won’t even go into my love for the Oregon coast. It’s too sappy to keep you reading.

And so coming back might have been hard if it hadn’t been for summer announcing itself with blazing skies and such a verdant, abundant landscape. The snow has melted into memory and summer has landed. And I, for one, am grateful.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Bill Mitchell permalink
    June 8, 2010 2:24 pm

    I can attest to the fact that the Portland farmers’ market feast prepared by Andrea and her hubby was lovely. This week’s star fungus at the Portland market was the lion’s mane mushroom, which, when lightly sauteed in olive oil, looks and tastes like dungeness crab! And, for tonight, I’ve prepared another farmers’ market combination: maitake mushrooms, white turnips, asparagus, and sea beans (also known as salicornia or picklewort).

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